Grades5 to 12
When you arrive at the site, click your language (there are MANY languages to choose from). Enter your gender, age, and location (optional). Then choose the "game" you wish to try. Some are more commercial (Disney, The Simpsons, or Star Trek). Others have educational value (Harry Potter, Earth, or Classic, Famous people). This is a fun and challenging activity. There are disclaimers that the "game gets smarter" the more you play because the game compiles facts over time. It is involving and fun to play. The site does include some advertisements.
tag(s): trivia (17)
In the ClassroomShare this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Teachers could have students research a person, place or thing and then use their research to play twenty questions against the computer. It could also be used as review if posted to the class wiki and then completed independently by students at home. Use this as a first day or first week activity, have students try the 20 question game about names and see if the computer can figure out their name. Use the Earth activity for geography practice in cooperative learning groups or as a class activity. In world language classes, choose the appropriate language to practice vocabulary about animals and other categories of information. As a culminating project in any class, have students create their own 20 question activity and quiz the class! You will be teaching HOTS (higher order thinking skills) as students use classification to create their questions.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomThe sky is the limit for potential and possibilities with this website. There are some minor warnings. If you want to allow your students to post to a blog, you will need to create a class and then have them enroll. The great news is that is free. As the teacher, you can moderate or delete posts before they are public. There are lessons available on the site as well as a "Teacher's Lounge" where lesson ideas can be exchanged. In a language arts classroom, students could be assigned to read and blog as a weekly writing assignment. The teacher can assign a specific article or have students choose. Have students read their articles on a podcast using PodOmatic (reviewed here). In science, articles from this site could be used to supplement science textbook reading with current articles that better interest students. Articles are short and provide quick practice pieces for non-fiction reading comprehension. Project a story and ask students to write their own sentence for the main idea or to summarize. These quick pieces would fit well on your interactive whiteboard. SmithsonianTweenTribune Espanol allows students to read daily news articles in Spanish and post comments about the stories they read. Teachers moderate all comments before the comments are posted.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is ideal for your interactive whiteboard or projector, learning station, or on individual computers (with headsets). Use this site to keep your students up to date on current events. Have students compare the different versions of the same news stories to try and ferret out the facts and the way points of view affect reporting. Project the scripts on an interactive whiteboard to have students highlight language choices that provide a certain slant. ESL/ELL students will benefit from listening to the short news clips and being able to see the transcript of the report. Have your ESL/ELL students write their own comprehension questions and answers based on the podcast to check their own comprehension and to exchange with classmates. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare the differences in two newspapers' versions of the same news. Have ESL/ELL students present the news from a newspaper familiar to them if possible by having them prepare an introduction and questions. Learning support students can use the transcripts and videos in combination to understand and report weekly current events assignments for social studies class.
Grades3 to 12
Registration does require an email address. Tip: rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. This is explained here, and tells how to set up Gmail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. Using Gmail subaccounts will provide anonymous interaction within your class.
tag(s): countries (77)
In the ClassroomUse this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of any country or culture. Another obvious use of this site is for any type of country research projects. This site allows students to explore their previous beliefs about cultures, in the "exploring your cultural baggage" section.This site is excellent for enrichment. Include it on your teacher web page for students to access both in and out of class. This site does include the ability for the general public to submit their own cultural information. Be sure to preview for content inappropriate for your classroom. You may want to limit use to whole-class activities or prohibit accessing the "add to the guide" portion of the site. ESL and ELL students will be proud to make reports to the class about their own countries using this site as backup and illustration. Share this site with language teachers who are taking students on trips beyond the U.S. or as a general resource for cultural information.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomEncourage parents to use this site as a study-at-home tool for their students. Link your blog or website to this site by entering your url at the bottom of the homepage. Make sure your guidance counselor at your school is aware of this site as a tool for studying those college entrance tests. Be sure to save this site in your favorites.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomShare this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector, if individual computers aren't available. If students are working in groups or individually, don't forget the headsets!
Students can pass through the scenes by recording vocabulary words. Have students identify the minor and major difficulties that soldiers during world War I faced. Research how the needs of soldiers were met those days and the agencies or people that helped the troops. Have students create a podcast, or other multimedia project to share their findings. For a podcasting site, try PodOmatic (reviewed here). Compare and contrast military stories today with those of the past to find parallels and differences in military service throughout history. Have groups create an online Venn Diagram comparing the similarities and differences, try a FREE site like this one, (reviewed here). Create class discussions of propaganda, expectations of the military, and different ways that soldiers are portrayed by the media, the public, and in other print materials.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomSearch for your state and see what this site has to offer. Looking for a specific topic (i.e. Civil War or Pearl Harbor), search using topics. Take advantage of these ready to go lesson plans. Infuse your lessons with technology by creating a class wiki about the lesson/topic being discussed. Maybe make a wiki guidebook to your state. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Save this site in your favorites, and check back as you plan throughout the year.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomMost of the graphics here are perfect for a one shot view on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Teachers should be aware that it's possible to comment on each of the graphics. Scrolling down reveals whatever someone may have sent in as a comment; preview carefully. One particular graphic, the consumer spending pie chart, would be useful in a consumer math class or "Real Life 101" class. Any of the charts could be used for real life data in a math class, or to teach students how to interpret charts and graphs, a topic appearing on most standardized state tests.
GradesK to 12
Click the "Go" button to start your activity. Click on the correct answer to the question and then a new question appears. Prompts to try again appear if the answer is wrong and a percent right appears on your screen as you progress. Click on the teacher's link in the upper right hand corner for more information on becoming registered. Once registered, teachers can create their own games for the site. Your teacher ID can be entered by students to access created games.
In the ClassroomUse these activities for review of concepts or terminology with your class on specific topics/subjects. Wish there were a review game for a missing topic? Request a teacher ID, and have groups of students create the questions. Enter the information for the game and students can review by playing their game or one created by another group. Share the student-created games on your interactive whiteboard or projector.These games would be great to both help students review and help them figure out what kind of study methods work best for them.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomShare HOW to use this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students try out the site on individual computers. Make sure you provide headsets! Be sure to list this site on your class website, blog, or wiki for students to use as a review for their study of planet names, solar system planet order, and speed of rotation. Music teachers can use this site as an example of musical description as students explore the planets. Be sure to turn up the speakers!
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomNavigating this site is rather simple. Simply click on one of the tabs across the top of the website: Home, Focus Areas, Projects, Connect, Forums, How-To, and ePal Tours. Parts of this site require log-in. Registration does require an email address. The site does offer SchoolMail, the leader for FREE "kid-safe" email.
A lot of safety features are already put into place at this site. The SchoolMail (email service offered at this site) offers monitored mail, instant translations, spell-check, anti-spam filters, and virus protection. To learn more about the safety features at this site, check out the ePals Tour link.
This site offers an amazing assortment of class activities and possibilities. Collaborate with schools in Africa (or 200 other countries) for a geography project. Have your students find ePals to correspond with and practice writing skills in English or in a language you are studying. Use the ready to go lessons and interactives at the "Focus Areas" and "Projects" links. Get additional ideas for projects, by visiting the "Projects" link or propose one of your own based on ideas from TeachersFirst suggestions you read in other reviews, lesson plans, and articles. After viewing one of the informative videos, challenge your students to study one of the topics available at this site and create their own videos. Use a tool such as TeachersTube, to share the video clips, reviewed here.
Includes an education-only area for teachers and students
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Includes teacher tools for registering and/or monitoring students
Grades3 to 7
tag(s): landforms (45)
In the ClassroomUse this site during a unit on landforms, or for research about the landforms. Have students create multimedia presentations about landforms. Have students use a mapping tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map of local landforms (with audio stories and pictures included)! Share the Mapskip presentations on your interactive whiteboard or projector.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomSearch the site for your content area. Take advantage of the free lesson plans. If you aren't familiar with Google Earth check out the site (reviewed here). There is a lot to explore with this multi-faceted tool, Google Earth. If you do not have it installed for FREE on your school computer, use this lesson blog to demonstrate to your administration why you should.
GradesK to 4
Although much of this site is free, there are links to purchase the maps and other "extras." So be sure to warn students NOT to click on those options. Flash is required at this site. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomUse this site to reinforce map skills using students' own personalized maps! If you have a classroom wiki page, link the student maps to share with viewers. Challenge students to write stories to go along with the maps and email them to grandparents and parents along with the map link. Print the maps for a creative bulletin board on map making skills.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site as a learning center or station during a lesson on Antarctica and the scientists living there. To highlight information, preview the site and create graphic organizers to guide students through and find the important information. For help making graphic organizers, try Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here)
Grades9 to 12
tag(s): westward expansion (29)